Welcome to the Wilson Lab at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Our group conducts research on animal behaviour, with a focus on animal communication, cognition, predator-prey interactions, and sexual selection. Our research is theory-driven, and we tend to work on questions concerning the underlying mechanisms and functional significance of behaviour. We have worked with a variety of animal species over the years, but most research has focused on wild birds.

Graduate students in the lab are affiliated with graduate programs in either the Department of Biology or the interdisciplinary program in Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology. If you are interested in joining the lab, please send me a copy of your academic transcript, your CV, and a statement about your research interests.

Lab News:

Mejias and Wilson 2023 JAB cover

In 2023, Miguel Mejías became the first PhD graduate from the lab and, at the same time, published the final two chapters of his thesis in the Journal of Avian Biology and the Journal of Field Ornithology. You can read the full articles on our publications page. Congratulations Dr. Mejías, we look forward to hearing about your next adventure! — July 2023

Dave Wilson and Jessika Lamarre presented their research on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on avian cognition at the annual conference of the Animal Behavior Society in Portland, Oregon.  — July 2023

PhD candidate Jessika Lamarre completes an ambitious field season in Montreal, and then completes an encore in Newfoundland where ring-billed gulls breed later in the year. This was the final year of data collection for Jessika’s thesis on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on avian cogntion and she certainly made the most of it! — June 2023

Kellys Island

Jessika monitoring breeding ring-billed gulls on Kelly’s Island, Newfoundland.

Chirathi Wijekulathilake presents her MSc research on the predictors of reproductive success in dark-eyed juncos at the Joint Meeting of the Ecological Society of America and the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution in Montreal, Canada. — August 2022

PhD candidate Sydney Collins publishes her research on the foraging behaviour of Leach’s storm petrels in Frontiers in Marine Science, and then presents the research virtually at the International Society for Behavioural Ecology conference in Stockholm, Sweden. Congratulations Sydney!  — August 2022

Read our new paper entitled Neotropical Birds Respond Innately to Unfamiliar Acoustic Signals, which was just published in The American Naturalist. Collaborator Luis Sandoval from Universidad de Costa Rica and Dave Wilson combined playback experiments conducted in Colombia, Brazil, and Costa Rica with comparative analysis to explain why diverse birds respond to the unfamiliar chick-a-dee calls of allopatric black-capped chickadees. — July 2022

Ted Miller and Dave Wilson, together with Australian collaborators Mike Weston and Kristal Kostoglou from Deakin University, publish their research on nestling vocalizations in the masked lapwing and red-capped plover. It has been an amazing collaboration, with more to come. — February 2022

© Dave Wilson 2016